Legalise it? Czechia moving closer to regulated cannabis but obstacles remain
The Czech cabinet recently approved drug policies that include introducing a strictly regulated cannabis market. The details of the plan, which its architects say will deliver major tax revenues, are still being fine-tuned – but there already obstacles in sight.
Earlier this month Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told reporters that ministers had approved an “ambitious” drugs action plan to run until the end of 2025 that includes the introduction of a strictly regulated market in cannabis.
The exact rules are now being drafted by an expert group.
The state’s drugs policy chief, Jindřich Vobořil, said previously that taxation on legalised cannabis could bring no less than CZK 15 billion into the state coffers annually.
Jan Martin Paďouk works in the field of medical grade cannabis and is an advisor to Mr. Vobořil.
“The team of Jindřich Vobořil, the team from the governmental office, has been preparing this for many, many years and it’s a result that came from Jindřich’s place as national anti-drug coordinator.
“Since he found that repression and the way we treat drug policy right now as a country is simply not working, they’re trying to figure out a new way to approach this problem.”
In 2021 Malta became the first country in the European Union to legalise the cultivation and personal use of cannabis.
The authorities in Germany are discussing a similar move. However, they recently had to tone down their intentions somewhat following concerns from the European Union.
Mr. Paďouk concedes that the Czech government’s plans could run into similar obstacles.
“To be honest, the biggest issue with the regular market is international law.
“First of all, the Single Convention of the United Nations.
“Second of all obviously there is the EU and European law. Because of the Schengen space it’s very complicated to allow a substance in one country once you don’t have regular borders to other countries.
“But every single country works their way around it somehow, or tries to fulfil international law while doing their own policy at the same time. So we’ll see.”
Another aspect is that all elements within the five-party Czech government coalition may not be in unison on the matter.
So, given these potential obstacles, how likely is Czechia to legalise cannabis?
Jan Martin Paďouk says he is trying to remain optimistic.
“I’m keeping my high hopes up.
“To be honest there couldn’t be better people doing it, so I think it’s going to be really good.
“Obviously the huge political battle and everything related is still ahead of us, so we cannot say right now, but keeping positive thoughts about.
“I still hope we will be capable of keeping the promises we made in the beginning, but it’s too early to say right now.”
Czechia decriminalised the personal possession of cannabis in 2010 and made medical cannabis legal three years later.